From the classic Angostura to new artisanal brands, bitters are a barkeep?s salt and pepper. And now that savvy companies are making versions that appeal to our ladylike tastes, we?re eager to expand our own collection.
Here, a pick for every palate.
Fruity Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters makes seasonally driven bitters with fruit-forward flavors like rhubarb, Meyer lemon and black mission fig ($18). Nearby, Bitter?s, Old Men taps papaya to make tiki-bar-perfect papaya bitters ($10), which are delicious drizzled over fresh fruit.
Floral L.A.-based Bitter Tears sets their lavender bitters ($15 to $20) apart by incorporating sweet elderberries and a hint of ginger into the secret recipe. Try them in a gin martini or swirled into sorbet. On the opposite coast, hibiscus flowers give Bittermens? Burlesque Bitters ($18) a floral lift. The Brooklyn-made bitters play well with genever, pisco and even tequila.
Gently Spiced Among their savory-leaning flavors, Santa Fe?s The Bitter End produces complex curry bitters ($24) made with a veritable spice rack of ingredients. And in Seattle, Scrappy?s Bitters makes cardamom the star in refined cardamom bitters ($18 to $25), which work equally well in a rum-based cocktail (we?re kind of obsessed with The Elegant Spice) or a chocolate mousse.